How to strategically read a job ad

You may skim a job ad, see a few words and think, I’ve got this let’s apply! But sometimes it can make a difference to pay a little more attention and break down the job ad in your mind. What are the most important points? How should you adjust your resume based on this job ad? These are the questions that are smart to think about. We’re here to help you strategically read a job ad so that you can make the best application possible.

What is the crux of the job description?

Usually there are 2-3 points which a candidate must have such as qualifications, experience in a certain industry or knowledge about a certain system. It doesn’t have to be these factors in particular but there are usually some distinct features within a job ad that you should match up with before you apply.

Watch out for ‘must-haves’

Usually you can apply to jobs that prefer more years’ experience than you have. You could still be in with a shot to impress them at an interview. But keep an eye out for wording such as ‘must have’ and ‘you will need’, think twice about applying to these roles that need qualifications you don’t have as you may get looked over. However, some skills or certifications can be gained on the job so recognise what roles may be a waste of time and what roles could help you learn and grow.

Pay attention to details

What key-words are important? Do you need to include a Cover Letter? Where do you send your application? Special details like this may be listed in a job ad, it’s wise to listen and help the process flow easily.

Read between the lines

If a job ad describes a workplace as fast-paced, this means they are looking for someone who will work well in that environment. If they mention integrating new processes or systems, you should include your experience doing this on your resume. If they mention that the role is part of a well-established team, they will want to know that you demonstrate teamwork. Often when a job is described in an ad there are plenty of clues about what they are looking for in a candidate. After all, the job ad is trying to attract the right people!

Take note of the job number

If you want to apply and then follow up with an email, reference the job number so that the recruitment consultant you are dealing with is aware of what role you applied for and can therefore locate your CV easier.

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